Tuesday, February 4, 2014

poem of the day 02.04.14

the girl in the parking lot

i still think about her
from time to time

that chance
that “what if” girl

who pulled up right next to me
in that strip mall parking lot

while i was waiting for my girlfriend
to finish work at the dollar store

so that she could come out smelling like potpourri
so that my car could smell like potpourri
so that we could go back to her parents
and fight or secretly fuck in her bedroom

the scent of potpourri still choking me hours later
on the ride home

i still think about the girl in the parking lot
twenty years removed

sometimes she’s brunette
sometimes she’s a fiery redhead

oh, the way she just pulled right into that spot
cigarette in her mouth and another behind her ear
hair tussled like she’d just woken up

while i sat there on the hood of my car
my parent’s car, really
waiting for the dollar store lights to dim

dreading the scent of potpourri

there’s something about the way she leaned
out of her window that i’ll never forget
the way she said, gotta light?

and i had one if i never had anything else in this life

then watching her smoke just sitting there
the two of us in some unreal suburban strip mall
on a warm july night

with the dollar store lights still on
and my girlfriend running around fixing shelves

how she said, so, what do you do around here for fun?
how instead of showing her i shrugged and said, don’t know

because i had a girlfriend
because of july nights and the choking scent of potpourri
because i didn’t know what i wanted in this life
because i no longer had any conception of fun

i shrugged and said, don’t know
like a goddamned fool

continued to sit there on the hood of my car
my parent’s car

while she smoked her cigarette to a nub
before lighting the new one off of it

saying, that’s cool
before she started up her engine

saying, you take care now
as if she’d just said, get in

forget the girlfriend
forget the scent of potpourri
forget trying to find the fun in a humid night
and just come along

that girl in the parking lot
in the confusing summer of 1994

how i watched her taillights slide away from me
out onto  route 19 and then moving further and further
like the best thing in my life was going for a ride

and then the scent of potpourri and cigarette in the thick air
as i turned around to see my girlfriend
standing by the passenger side door

who smirked and said to me
you better not be smoking again.                                               

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